Magazine article American Banker

Federal Housing Bill Action Can't Wait

Magazine article American Banker

Federal Housing Bill Action Can't Wait

Article excerpt

What we need from Washington right now is decisive federal action on a housing bill. It is past time for Congress to move forward on these pressing issues - to protect homeowners, restore the reputation of the mortgage industry, and stabilize the economy.

A bipartisan solution to this complex problem is within our grasp, and proof of this can be found right here in New York State. Guided by the leadership of Gov. David Paterson, New York just passed one of the most comprehensive mortgage reform packages in the country. Our experience is proof that cooperation is more than just a possibility; it has yielded practical solutions that will benefit tens of thousands of our residents. The New York legislation addresses the mortgage crisis in two broad respects: It has provisions both to assist existing at-risk borrowers and to help prevent future crises.

On the national level, I agree that the most pressing need is to assist current borrowers who are at risk of losing their homes. Only with action at the federal level can we respond adequately to the masses of troubled loans that need to be refinanced. Immediate action by Congress would be a clear statement that the American Dream of homeownership is alive and well. I urge Congress to pass a housing bill that expands the FHA's role, which would complement existing state efforts through direct outreach, amendment of foreclosure laws, and state refinancing programs.

As we look to staunch the tide of unnecessary foreclosures, we can never lose sight of the need to reform the undisciplined mortgage lending practices that precipitated the current turmoil. …

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